Described in the Lonely Planet guide to Britain as the ‘Knightsbridge of the North’, Leeds has consistently been ranked as one of the UK’s top five retail destinations.
Leeds is the regional shopping centre for Yorkshire and the Humber with an estimated 1.9 million people living within a 30-minutes drive of the city and a total shopping catchment population of nearly 3.2 million people.
Briggate, Commercial Street and Albion Street are in the top 15 UK streets for the level of footfall.
Around 40,700 people are employed in the retail sector in Leeds, and over 154,000 in the Leeds City Region.
Leeds has 2.3 million sq ft of retail space within five miles of shopping streets, including five indoor shopping centres, one of the country’s largest pedestrian shopping areas and a number of speciality shopping attractions such as the Corn Exchange and Victoria Quarter.
In the last decade £600 million has been invested in major retail and leisure developments in Leeds, further enhancing its excellent facilities.
The £350 million Trinity Leeds has seen the redevelopment of over 1 million sq ft of prime retail and leisure space in the city centre, and was completed in March 2013.
A revised planning application has also been submitted for the Victoria Gate (formerly Eastgate Quarters) retail development. Anchored by a 260,000 sq ft John Lewis store and a 196,500 sq ft Marks & Spencer, will create an additional 1 million sq ft of prime retail space in 130 new stores. Completion of the first phase is scheduled for 2016.
Harvey Nichols chose Leeds as the location for its first store outside London.
Leeds has one of the driest summer climates among major British cities, which is one of the key factors behind the success of its shopping, pavement cafes and outdoor events programme.
Kirkgate Market, part of which is a Grade I listed building dating from 1875, is the largest covered market in Europe.
The White Rose Centre is one of the largest out-of-town shopping centres in the region and has a footfall of 12 million shoppers per year.
The Leeds Retail Skills Academy is a founder member of the National Skills Academy for Retail and offers a range of programmes from level 1 NVQ to Foundation Degree alongside bespoke training.
Leeds Shopping Week is an annual celebration of the city’s diverse high street and independent retail offer with special events, fashion shows and lots of retail therapy.